The USF men’s soccer team has shown it can win in any possible way. This year, the Bulls have won by dominating their opponent from start to finish and by matching a team blow for blow in a back-and-forth victory. Now, they have a gritty comeback from what looked to be a blowout loss on their resume.
On the road Saturday night in New York, the Syracuse Orange (2-9-1, 0-4-1) wanted to halt the Bulls’ hot streak, with USF (9-2-2, 4-0-1) having gone six games without a loss. For the first 77 minutes, it looked as if Syracuse would pull off the upset and win easily, thanks in large part to the contributions of junior forward Louis Clark.
Clark struck in the 17th minute, when an Orange corner kick from senior Nick Roydhouse found Clark’s feet, allowing him to finish for an early 1-0 lead over the No. 11 Bulls. USF’s hole grew deeper nine minutes later, when Clark took a lead pass from junior Ted Cribley and scored to double the lead, which held until halftime.
After intermission, the Bulls turned up the pressure both offensively and defensively, but were still unable to break through the Syracuse defense. USF finally got their big break in the 78th minute, when junior Dom Dwyer was taken down in the box, drawing a penalty kick opportunity.
Dwyer stepped up to take the penalty himself, finishing for his 12th goal of the season, which leads the Big East. Trailing by one, the Bulls intensified their efforts even further, and were rewarded after a Syracuse gaffe in the 88th minute.
When Orange freshman Skylar Thomas whiffed on a clear opportunity to score, USF freshman midfielder Roberto Alterio broke away and finished with a low shot past Syracuse goalkeeper Phil Boerger for the dramatic equalizer, sending the match to overtime.
Momentum stuck on the Bulls’ side for the rest of the match until Dwyer finished the game by heading in his 13th goal of the season off a corner kick five minutes into the first overtime period, giving the Bulls an unlikely 3-2 comeback victory.
This is the second consecutive week in which Dom Dwyer has scored three goals in two games, with one goal in the 2-0 victory over DePaul on Wednesday and two in the victory over Syracuse. Dwyer was coming off of a week in which he was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week.
The Bulls’ next game is Tuesday on the road against the Louisville Cardinals – a 7 p.m. game that will be televised live on ESPNU.